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The beauty that is produced by color, as when we prefer one bird to another, though of the same form, on account of its color, has nothing to do with this argument, which reaches only to form. I have here considered the word beauty as being properly applied to form alone. There is a necessity of fixing this confined sense; for there can be no argument, if the sense of the word is extended to everything that is approved. A rose may as well be said to be beautiful because it has a fine smell, as a bird because of its color. When we apply the word beauty, we do not mean always by it a more beautiful form, but something valuable on account of its rarity, usefulness, color, or any other property. A horse is said to be a beautiful animal; but, had a horse as few good qualities as a tortoise, I do not imagine that he would be then esteemed beautiful.
A fitness to the end proposed is said to be another cause of beauty. But supposing we were proper judges of what form is the most proper in an animal to constitute strength or swiftness, we always determine concerning its beauty before we exert our understanding to judge of its fitness.
From what has been said it may be inferred that the works of nature, if we compare one species with another, are all equally beautiful; and that preference is given from custom, or some association of ideas; and that, in creatures of the same species, beauty is the medium or centre of all its various forms. To conclude, then, by way of corollary: if it has been proved that the painter, by attending to the invariable and general ideas of nature, produces beauty, he must, by regarding minute particularities and accidental discriminations, deviate from the universal rule, and pollute his canvas with deformity.
LETTERS OF JUNIUS
[These Letters, representing the most brilliant political invective of English historical literature, appeared in the Public Advertiser between November 1768 and January 1772 (the first of the letters which reappeared in the collected edition was that of January 21, 1769). They were partially collected for publication in book form in 1769; the corrected author's edition appeared in 1772. The authorship has remained a secret to this day, having been attributed, at various times, to some forty different persons. The most prevalent theory, however, has been that Junius was Sir Philip Francis (1740-1818). (See, for discussions of the subject, the article on Junius in the Encyclopædia Britannica, and Leslie Stephen's article on Francis in the Dictionary of National Biography.) Whoever Junius was, he represented that branch of the Whigs which was especially attached to George Grenville and his brother Lord Temple. The letters created no small excitement in political circles, at the time of publication; the chief sensation was due to the letter to the King, of December 19, 1769, a part of which is reprinted below.]
TO HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF BEDFORD
September 19, 1769.
You are so little accustomed to receive any marks of respect or esteem from the public, that if, in the following lines, a compliment or expression of applause should escape me, I fear you would consider it as a mockery of your established character, and perhaps an insult to your understanding. You have nice feelings, my Lord, if we may judge from your resentments. Cautious, therefore, of giving offense where you have so little deserved it, I shall leave the illustration of your virtues to other hands. Your friends have a privilege to play upon the easiness of your temper, or possibly they are better acquainted with your good qualities than I am. You have done good by stealth. The rest is upon record. You have still left ample room for speculation, when panegyric is exhausted.
You are indeed a very considerable man. The highest rank, a splendid fortune, and a name glorious, till it was yours, were sufficient to have supported you with meaner abilities than I think you possess. From the first, you derived a constitutional claim to respect; from the second, a natural extensive author
ity; the last created a partial expectation of hereditary virtues. The use you have made of these uncommon advantages might have been more honorable to yourself, but could not be more instructive to mankind. We may trace it in the veneration of your country, the choice of your friends, and in the accomplishment of every sanguine hope which the public might have conceived from the illustrious name of Russell.
The eminence of your station gave you a commanding prospect of your duty. The road which led to honor was open to your view. You could not lose it by mistake, and you had no temptation to depart from it by design. Compare the natural dignity and importance of the richest peer of England, the noble independence which he might have maintained in Parliament, and the real interest and respect which he might have acquired, not only in Parliament, but through the whole kingdom,-compare these glorious distinctions with the ambition of holding a share in government, the emoluments of a place, the sale of a borough, or the purchase of a corporation; and, though you may not regret the virtues which create respect, you may see with anguish how much real importance and authority you have lost. Consider the character of an independent, virtuous Duke of Bedford; imagine what he might be in this country; then reflect one moment upon what you
If it be possible for me to withdraw my attention from the fact, I will tell you in theory what such a man might be. Conscious of his own weight and importance, his conduct in Parliament would be directed by nothing but the constitutional duty of a peer. He would consider himself as a guardian of the laws. Willing to support the just measures of government, but determined to observe the conduct of the minister with suspicion, he would oppose the violence of faction with as much firmness as the encroachments of prerogative. He would be as little capable of bargaining with the minister for places for himself or his dependents, as of descending to mix himself in the intrigues of opposition. Whenever an important question called for his opinion in Parliament, he would be heard by the most profligate minister with deference and respect. His authority would either sanctify or disgrace the measures of government. The people would look up to him as their protector, and a
virtuous prince would have one honest man in his dominions, in whose integrity and judgment he might safely confide..
Your Grace may probably discover something more intelligible in the negative part of this illustrious character. The man I have described would never prostitute his dignity in Parliament by an indecent violence, either in opposing or defending a minister. He would not at one moment rancorously persecute, at another basely cringe to, the favorite of his sovereign. After outraging the royal dignity with peremptory conditions, little short of menace and hostility, he would never descend to the humility of soliciting an interview with the favorite, and of offering to recover, at any price, the honor of his friendship. Though deceived, perhaps, in his youth, he would not, through the course of a long life, have invariably chosen his friends from among the most profligate of mankind. His own honor would have forbidden him from mixing his private pleasures or conversation with jockeys, gamesters, blasphemers, gladiators, or buffoons. He would then have never felt, much less would he have submitted to, the dishonest necessity of engaging in the interest and intrigues of his dependents, — of supplying their vices, or relieving their beggary, at the expense of his country.
A great man, in the success and even in the magnitude of his crimes, finds a rescue from contempt. Your Grace is every way unfortunate. . . . It may, perhaps, be a pleasure to reflect that there is hardly a corner of any of His Majesty's dominions, except France, in which, at one time or other, your valuable life has not been in danger. Amiable man! we see and acknowledge the protection of Providence, by which you have so often escaped the personal detestation of your fellow-subjects, and are still reserved for the public justice of your country..
TO THE PRINTER OF THE PUBLIC ADVERTISER
December 19, 1769.
When the complaints of a brave and powerful people are observed to increase in proportion to the wrongs they have suffered; when, instead of sinking into submission, they are roused to resistance, the time will soon arrive at which every inferior
consideration must yield to the security of the sovereign and to the general safety of the state. There is a moment of difficulty and danger, at which flattery and falsehood can no longer deceive, and simplicity itself can no longer be misled. Let us suppose it arrived: let us suppose a gracious, well-intentioned prince made sensible, at last, of the great duty he owes to his people, and of his own disgraceful situation; that he looks round him for assistance, and asks for no advice but how to gratify the wishes and secure the happiness of his subjects. In these circumstances, it may be matter of curious speculation to consider, if an honest man were permitted to approach a king, in what terms he would address himself to his sovereign. Let it be imagined, no matter how improbable, that the first prejudice against his character is removed, that the ceremonious difficulties of an audience are surmounted; that he feels himself animated by the purest and most honorable affections to his king and country; and that the great person whom he addresses has spirit enough to bid him speak freely, and understanding enough to listen to him with attention. Unacquainted with the vain impertinence of forms, he would deliver his sentiments with dignity and firmness, but not without respect.
SIR: It is the misfortune of your life, and originally the cause of every reproach and distress which has attended your government, that you should never have been acquainted with the language of truth, until you heard it in the complaints of your people. It is not, however, too late to correct the error of your education. We are still inclined to make an indulgent allowance for the pernicious lessons you received in your youth, and to form the most sanguine hopes from the natural benevolence of your disposition. We are far from thinking you capable of a direct, deliberate purpose to invade those original rights of your subjects, on which all their civil and political liberties depend. Had it been possible for us to entertain a suspicion so dishonorable to your character, we should long since have adopted a style of remonstrance very distant from the humility of complaint. The doctrine inculcated by our laws, that "the king can do no wrong," is admitted without reluctance. We separate the amiable, good-natured prince from the folly and treachery of his servants, and the private virtues of the man from the vices of his government. Were it not for this